How did the Homeless World Cup get started?

The idea of the Homeless World Cup started at a conference on homelessness in Cape Town in 2001.  Mel Young and Harald Schmied believed that it was possible to change the lives of homeless people through football, and two years later, the first tournament was held in Graz in Austria... 

Mel Young

The President of the Homeless World Cup, Mel Young, is recognised as one of the world's leading social entrepreneurs by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and is a Schwab Fellow of the World Economic Forum.

Mel previously worked as a journalist and co-founded The Big Issue in Scotland in 1993.  He also co-founded Senscot (Social Entrepreneurs Network Scotland) and is the former President and Honorary President of INSP (International Network of Street Papers).

He also set up City Lynx magazine and New Consumer Magazine, and worked on a community newspaper in Wester Hailes in Edinburgh in the 1990s.

He is currently the President of the Homeless World Cup which he co-founded in 2003.  He is also a non-executive director on the boards of  Sportscotland and Glasgow Life, and a member of the World Economic Forum Sports Agenda Council.

He has been awarded three honorary degrees from Scottish Universities.

He is a lifelong supporter of Hibernian FC and the author of GOAL! The story of the Homeless World Cup.

Harald Schmied

Harald Schmied studied History and German and worked as a journalist before becoming chief-editor of Megaphon, a streetpaper in Graz, Austria. 

A co-founder of the Homeless World Cup in 2003, Schmied worked as Chief Executive for the second tournament in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2004.

He then moved on to become Head of PR and Fundraising for Caritas Styria and has been awarded the Styrian Human Rights Prize.